Landlord’s Duties to Check their Tenants’ Eligibility to Rent in the UK
Landlord’s Duties to Check their Tenants Eligibility to Rent in the UK
From 1st February 2016, every landlord letting private accommodation must complete a right to rent check on their new tenants. The government has issued new guidance for landlords in relation to their responsibility to check a tenant’s immigration status for all new tenants and you can find it here: https://www.gov.uk/check-tenant-right-to-rent-documents.
Carrying out the check:
The guidance states that right to rent checks must be carried out on all tenants aged 18 or over, even if they are not named on the tenancy agreement.
The check must be carried out no later than 28 days before the start of the tenancy if the tenant is only allowed to reside in the UK for a limited time.
If the property is rented through an agency, it is possible for the agency to carry out the check on behalf of the Landlord. If you ask your agency to carry out the check for you, keep a copy of your request, so that you can show anyone if you’re asked about it later.
If you are carrying out the checks yourself, you should make sure you follow these steps:
- Check which adults will live at the property or use it as their main home i.e. reside there most of the time.
- Ask to see the original documents allowing the tenant to live in the UK – a passport with a visa or an ID card, for example
- Check the documents are genuine (i.e. is the photo ID a true reflection of the tenant, is the date of birth believable, do the documents look as though they have been changed or tampered with in any way) and seek confirmation direct from the tenant that they belong to them.
- Take copies of the documents and retain them for the duration of the tenancy and twelve months after the expiration of the tenancy.
- Make a note of the date the check was carried out.
If you fail to make the necessary checks, you could face a financial penalty of up to £3000 per tenant.
If the tenant is permitted to reside in the UK for a restricted amount of time, you should carry out a further check just before the expiry of their eligibility or every twelve months from the date of the first check, just to make sure that their visa has been correctly extended.
If you discover that your tenant is no longer permitted to reside in the UK you must inform the Home Office or you could potentially face a fine.
If you have any concerns about a tenants’ eligibility to rent your property you can contact the Home Office’s dedicated Landlord Helpline on 0300 069 9799.
If you would like any more information or assistance, do please give us a call!